Happy Old Year and New Year | 2016 | Year of the Monkey | Gratitude Jar

I know, I know. It’s way past New Years, but I’ve had this on draft since January 1st and really want to share 🙂 I thought I would have more down time in AmeriCorps – boy was I wrong. It’s a good kind of busy – more on this in a later post. To be fair, Chinese New Years was on February 8th so I’m only 3 weeks late right? I also found out that if you were born in the year of the monkey, you’re supposed to have an unlucky year when it’s the year of the monkey again according to Chinese traditions. I was thinking it would be the other way around – lucky on your birth year animal. Who says you gotta follow the status quo? I’m planning on having an exhilarating year!

This year, I had one of the best New Year’s. In the past, I usually had quiet New Year’s Eve nights in or hung out with a few friends at their house. Leading up to the night, I thought I would be continuing this quiet tradition. Then, I had the chance to spontaneously say yes to an invitation to spend New Year’s at a friend’s house. We recently re-connected, but have known each other since elementary school.

This is something that makes me feel alive: reconnecting with people whom you knew in the past. I had a chance to do that with almost everyone that ended up coming over to his house. The intricate details of people crossing and re-crossing paths in life fascinates me.

On the topic of celebrating New Year’s: my most favorite part about this holiday is how almost everyone is extremely positive about the upcoming year and enthusiastic about being the best versions of themselves.

I had dinner out and a worker at the restaurant said “Happy New Year and Happy Old Year, no one says the old part.” I thought that was very clever and we should say Happy Old Year too.

I have a lot to be grateful for in 2015: achieving mental clarity about life purpose, the ability to always look on the positive side, mindfulness of being grateful for the little things, capturing my grandmother’s hearty smile before she moved to California in my last selfie with her, competing in a jump rope competition, trying a pint of Jeni’s ice cream as a result of being nominated for employee of the semester, working at the RPAC (which brought me so much happiness and it was exciting to develop unique relationships with coworkers and students I swiped in), visiting Chicago, ending BLF on a good emotional note, attending first Crew game, winning a short visit with Dr. Drake in this office with some friends for grad week, the life-changing mentorship from my research PI, graduating, attending Steve Aoki concert, shadowing in Psychiatry, taking my last MCAT, frolicking in a sunflower field, serving with AmeriCorps, moving away from home for the first time, getting accepted into medical school, organizing a food drive on OU’s campus to serve students in need at my site, getting to wear scrubs to serve, getting to see a lot of old friends from grade school during breaks at home, going to trivia night in Athens, experiencing home visits in the community, and an extremely fun last night of 2015 reminiscing and playing games.

Here are some goals I will work on for 2016:

  1. Say yes more. I have realized that I tend to hold myself back from making new memories with new people.
  2. Improve relationship with mom.
  3. Just do it. Recently, I’ve been annoyed with myself for waiting to get things done, especially if it revolves around a conflict. I feel that I am this way because one of my top 5 strengths is harmony. I tend to avoid conflict and I am very good at doing that. Eventually, I do accomplish the task at hand, but with all the agony of mulling over the problem inside my head. So I resolve to “just do it” and tackle situations as they arise instead of thinking too much and waiting for something to happen.
  4. Live in vulnerability and authenticity.
  5. Vlog!
  6. Don’t be too humble. This sounds weird, but I hate hate hate talking about myself in person if there is no goal of helping someone else. This can come across as having low confidence and I don’t wish to be perceived that way.

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Additionally, I was inspired by an article to create a gratitude/happiness jar. The concept is to write down people, opportunities, experiences and things that you are grateful for on a daily basis. I feel that life is better lived when we are more appreciative.

To create your own jar, grab:

  • decent-sized mason jar
  • decorations/crafts to your liking: yarn, string, construction paper, scrapbook paper, markers, stickers, cut-outs, pictures, glitter, ribbon
  • hot glue gun
  • some friends! 🙂

I had a great time making this with two of my closest friends, and I cannot wait to see what all we were grateful for in 2016.

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~lntan

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15 Ways to be Positive and Happy in Life :)

Inspirational quote

What you think and how you think has a large influence on your outlook on life and affects how you show up to places and how others perceive you. For me, I have found that by focusing on the positive side of every situation you find yourself in, you’ll be a more happy and purposeful person.

I hope this list will give you some ideas on how to train your mind and change your actions to achieve an overall happier, satisfying, purposeful and meaningful life. This is an ongoing list that I am compiling whenever inspiration strikes me.

We’re all humans – of course we’ll still have our down days, but I find myself coming back to this list on those days to see how I can get myself out. Feel free to share some of your tips 🙂

1. Post only positivity on all your social media accounts.

2. Don’t be afraid to laugh out loud until your sides hurt, rolling on the floor dying and almost peeing your pants (my favorite kind of laughter) – especially at yourself.

3. Listen to upbeat music! Sing and dance it out. To de-stress, I enjoy one person dance parties before bed. Try it 😛

4. Count your blessings. Be grateful for all that you have. Even simple things like: sunshine, family, friends, the ability to wake up every day and live.

5. Be authentic in all parts of your life. Be honest. Be true.

6. Perform random acts of kindness, all day every day. Some of my favorites: smiling at people, informing people there’s no toilet paper in a stall, helping people that look lost and telling people you appreciate them. You have the ability to make someone’s day, and this in turn can make your day.

7. Be altruistic. Help others. Give without expecting something back.

8. Don’t focus too much on the end goal. Cherish the journey to get there.

9. Catch up with friends. Be present. Put away your phone and relish pure human connections. Talk to people like they’re the only ones on earth.

10. Love is quite possibly one of the greatest human feelings. Give love to everyone – with hugs, kisses, words, gifts, gestures, compliments, a smile, a listening ear. Remind people how much they mean to you because you might not get a chance to if you wait too long.

11. Exercise. For health. For social interaction. For good mentality – with friends is even better. Trigger those endorphins that give you a pleasurable feeling. For me, I enjoy the long runs where deep thinking occurs.

12. Welcome deep meaningful dialogues. Be open and honest with yourself and others within reason. Don’t play games and beat around the bush. I guarantee you’ll find this a liberating feeling.

13. As a human race, we are more alike than we think. I often go on a meta-thinking tangent and picture ourselves as one big human family on a revolving blue sphere somewhere in the vast universe.

14. Keep a smile file 🙂 Write down anything that happens to you that makes you smile. Revisit it on your bad days. Also use it for reflection and the expression of gratitude.

15. There is no such thing as “too late” in life (this one is inspired by the book, Tuesdays with Morrie). If you want to achieve a healthier mindset and a happier life, you can begin any time 🙂